You, dear 12 readers, have not heard from me in the normal weekly fashion. And I have more bad/thoroughly unimpressive news: I don't know when I'll be back. I do know that when I'll be back, I'll be back as always, in style, bigger and better than before. But seriously, I am thinking about changing some things around with the format, and I have a lot to report back on, but for now for I can't. At the very latest I'll be back in September. But preferably before that. And it may or may not include some vloggy stuff about culture and philosophy that has nothing to do with food, but things like that need time to grow and to actually be made.
And what, I hear you ask, is my pathetic excuse for not blogging? Well, I am attempting to write a bachelor thesis after only one semester of college on this wonderful performance (no really, it is awesome and will make your day). I am redecorating (read: removing mould from) and kondoing my room and then the rest of the house (the other family members are also catching the bug, by which I mean both the kondoing and the fungus the building corporation is refusing to remove). We are also dealing with some personal shit due to our government consisting of fraudulent incompetent heartless jerks (unless you are all for public officials accepting million dollar 'gifts' from known criminals and limiting health care to the disabled, then I have said nothing and I wholeheartedly suggest you continue to support this wonderful administration of hypocrisy and intolerance).
Meanwhile, I am attempting to be a better, more put together person by living healthily and less wasteful and I am thinking about implementing some serious shit with regards to healthy eating and healthy cleaning, as well as some (ethical) fashion related stuff I will update you guys on in due time. The balcony garden is going strong. I am trying to have a social life. Catering work is nice as always. I hope to join a feminist book group in April. And I am raising kittens, which means constant vigilance with regards to the balcony plants, the drapes around the bed (that are now tucked away at a safe height), and all of the tricot fabrics (especially pantyhose, which turn out to be the most tempting of all of the clothing when trying to climb someone's leg). It also means not opening the door for too long when entering the house, because everything is interesting, especially dangerous heights and the possibility of running straight into oncoming traffic or the suspected cat-torturer neighbour. Betty is not impressed...
So, yeah, lots to report back on, but not enough time to do that in. Summer holidays start in a few months, so there will be time soon. I am also knitting a scarf because I was watching too many British murder mysteries to do all of the things that are also keeping me from blogging, so I thought doing something low-key was a good idea, but now I am mainly knitting in a state of stress in front of a screen with moving pictures and panicking about when I'll find the time to participate in some student protest actions. Baby steps, baby steps. So I guess I also have some vegan knitting to report back on? All in good time, I promise. If we are all patient, then I'll be back more organised and prepared and with more time and content than ever, before this blog once again disintegrates into chaos and I have to apologise for not posting in 2016 when the writing of my master thesis begins. So we have that to look forward to, as well as some awesome never before seen recipes of very delicious and healthy birthday cakes (that a professional egg-using baker was impressed by) and dinosaur crackers in an erupting rice-volcano and baked-potato landscape. Yay!
March 8th, 2015
As always after a year of blogging there were some pictures taken and ready to be posted without them being enough to get their own post. So were are, once again, doing a round-up.
First of all: DIY glow in the dark star-ceiling. Over the summer holidays I got some glow in the dark paint and created a starry ceiling above my bed. It is completely invisible in the light of day, but as soon as the light goes off it is actually rather pretty. I know now what I'd do different next time. I'd use a few more teeny tiny brushes as well instead of 3 more uniform medium ones, perhaps get a red star or 3 for contrast, but on the whole I'd recommend it to anybody. I first sponged a galaxy-shapes nebula and then dotted with the brush. Anyone who's seen galaxy nail art video's will know how. It cost me 40 euros in total, which I thought was steep, but worth it. It is lovely to look at at night.
Secondly, I found this picture of Fatty. I am also partly in it (as the camouflage-colored sweater-wearer, my mum took it). She looks really pretty and content and how I'd like to remember her: a pocket sized lion basking in the sun with an awkward ratty tail.
Then we got this pasta from Ikea, which made me smile. I am not very pro-Ikea, being a designer and an environmentalist (though they do offer some good things with regards to design and environment, but mostly not). I try to buy second hand furniture or recycle the stuff we have, but Ikea is very convenient every now and again. It's like unethical underwear: how I wish I could quit you, but how horrible my life/backpain would be then. Anyway, as soon as I saw pasta shaped like elk, I knew we had to have that. The taste was unremarkable, but it was funny none the less.
I also figured out that if you make gluten-free non-fat vegan macaroni and cheese (it is surprisingly delicious and non-cardboard-like, I use the recipe from Appetite for Reduction), top that with some herbed bread crumbs and freeze that in tiny dishes, you always have something to eat late at night when you arrive home hungry. If you happen to have a microwave. We only got a microwave last year, and I don't use it often (I have so far only managed to burn chocolate in it), but sometimes it is a lifesaver. Warm chocolate chip cookies straight out of the freezer with your cup of tea? Yes please! And 3 1/2 minutes on full and you have steaming hot healthy pasta when you are suddenly really hungry but have nothing but a carrot to munch on. The Magic Mac 'n Cheese recipe (with some nutritional yeast added) from one of my favorite ebooks, Comfortably Yum, would also be really nice in this way so I wholeheartedly recommend you get that book. A non-vegan friend enjoyed that recipe as part of a burrito immensely.
Last but not least: Asian food. I've started enjoying it more and more over the last few years. I still need to perfect the silken tofu in chili dressing, it's a remake from something I ordered at a restaurant around the corner because it was really good. The other dish is just a variation on the already very familiar "recipe" for whenever stuff needs to be fast. Adding some silken tofu marinated in soy sauce is very very tasty. Silken tofu is my favorite thing of 2014. I had had it before of course, many many times, but I am finally getting the hang of using it properly. It works as a chocolate mousse, as a savory dish, as addition to soup, as an egg replacer, something cold on a very hot day, in the best tiramisu ice cream ever and according to Great Chefs Cook Vegan also brûlée instead of crème. I love it to bits!
February 5th, 2015
It's a bit like Lisa Simpsons says in one of the new bad Simpsons episodes: "They're giant polluters, but their ceo is a woman. It's very vexing." And that's how I feel about Dr. Martens. Also about the shoes that I proclaimed to be a big Yay!, because they turn out to have dead animal on the inside. Sooooo, that was another oops, mea culpa, shouldn't have happened to a vegan of 5 years. Anyway, Dr. Martens. I have always been a Dr. Martens girl. In fact, the first declaration of love ever addressed to me, happened while I was wearing gigantic purple metallic ones. The lovely person declaring the love proceeded to do drawings of me in the boots and striped stockings, which was very significant and deeply moving at the time. I was heartbroken that the love and the shoes did not survive a second festival season (though in both cases this might have been for the best because it made possible other relationships and shoes I wouldn't have want to miss, no matter how heartbreakingly sad stuff like that can be, and the loss of shoes was not the painful part). I once kicked a boy with those shoes for insulting my sister (it is a touchy subject) and father. He fell over crying, I am still proud of that to this day. I guess the first shoes I ever bought of my own accord were Dr. Martens (I had an awkward pierced punk-phase when I was 11-14).
So imagine my delight when it turns out there's vegan Dr. Martens now/again. There were always the Marten-ish shoes from Vegetarian shoes, and from an ethical and durability standpoint, I have more hope for them. Their leather is way thicker and tougher. This also makes them look a little bit clunky and plastic, I have the Stable Boots, which are beautiful and comfortable and durable and supremely made-in-the-UK-vegan-ethical. But the Dr. Martens (made in Vietnam, way less thick leather, look and are much more expensive) are much more comfortable. Because the leather is thinner and more supple and more like actual "leather" of the kind Dr. Martens are made of. And the soles are more bounce-y. For real. I can walk in them forever and it's like walking on clouds. So you are hereby left to make your own choice between ethics and comfort/fashion. I am happy I have both and think in daily use I prefer the "real deal". Even if my ethical sensibilities would wish it was the other way 'round.
I'd also like to discuss more Black Sheep Nail Lacquer. I got the sample-size winter collection when it came out in fall. I gave two of the bottles away to friends, but the gold, the new glittery topping and the brown-silvery colors were so beautiful! I also realized it can last forever if you don't use the base coat. Somehow the polish adheres better and it keeps for at least 7 days. No more accidental peeling. The colors are all absolutely gorgeous and I recommend them to anybody! I've added pictures with better swatches then the ones I got in the first post. If you are looking for some nail polish, you should definitely go for Black Sheep!
Ps. I now have 0 piercings left because it is a hassle (and snot gets into nose piercings). People who have not seen me in the leathery skirts or spandex leggings or in my "thinking outfit" (pajama's with men's boxershorts and a Che Guevara sweater), every now and again go "You dress so conservatively!". They usually have an asymmetrical hairdo, more than two earrings and failed the exam to get into arts college so now they study "something with communication". To them I say: it took me 10 years to realize that some anarcho-feminist vegans just look a lot better in a blazer or pencil skirt. And I did get into art school, where it only took me four years to realize that while I can graduate, I do not want to "do art". Now hand me my neon-yellow purse and matching coat, I need to get some more chocolate.
January 29th, 2015
Ok, so we're doing this totally uninteresting thing where I have bought personal care products and then alternatively rave or bitch about them. It will take ages, so be prepared.
Nobody's paying me to say anything and if I go broke in search of the best all-natural deodorant that smells good, doesn't stain clothing, has a nice texture and actually works, I will moan about it in the privacy of my own blog. And I have tried lots of different deodorants with varying degrees of success. My mum always uses "the rock", most classic of natural deodorants and (for me at least) completely ineffective. I used the Citrus one from Weleda for quite some time, and that worked perfectly, as long as I sprayed about half a bottle under my arms each morning. It smells really nice and keeps you fresh, but not if you get that thing where you run around stressed and nervous. My sister uses the rose one, which works better but also smells so strong that I don't like wearing it. It lasts her for at least three months, so in the end it's not that expensive. I also tried an Urtekram rock-with-scent-solution for some time, which didn't always work, and a Hauschka cream-thing that did. But with both of them, every time I'd start to sweat I'd suddenly start smelling of soapy stuff and meadows of flowers (or alternatively: something virile, herby and pungent if I took the "male" version to avoid the sickly flowers). I also tried the more and less natural versions of Lush's deodorants, with the least natural working best by far, but then I smelled of patchouli and it was just a bit too hippy. It's not that nice when people smell your hippy-armpits coming for miles (but better then them smelling your sweaty armpits for miles). In the end, I decided on something with similar ingredients (though this one does has the alzheimer-aluminium) that smells a little bit more neutral. It's still sweet flowers, but because it also smells a bit cool and matches with both my citrus and my smokey perfume, I am ok with it. It is vegetarian, not vegan. My toothpaste, dental floss, and nail polish remover suffer the same fate, but everyone makes choices and these are mine. I am uncomfortably ignoring issues like paint and photography and glue, but sometimes those things are just not available without ground up pig and then you just have to deal. Trust me, I checked.
Another surprise was that it's doable to make a good vegan deodorant at home. It works as good as any commercially made "all natural" one, with an important pro: you can scent it however you want and tweak the recipe to fit your needs. It's actually a home-made version of a cream I found on Etsy. Ok, that one is better, but it is also staggeringly expensive. I do sometimes use a similar set of essential oils because the tea tree and mint do work and are antibacterial. But I've also made it with a few drops of perfume added in, and that works as well. The bonus is then that you don't smell like five different things on one person. I never like smelling very strongly, and smelling very strongly of 5 different things at once usually gives me a headache or a bit of a sick feeling. The only con the home-made one has is that it sometimes leaves tiny white flecks of cornstarch in the jersey of your t-shirts. This is of course extra visible when most of your shirts are black. But on the bright side: it does not leave any stains.
Which brings us to my latest find: Revolver. I ordered a gift-pack from North Coast Organics, because I wanted to try them and I knew my sister would like the flowery massage bar. As I guessed, I adore Revolver's scent. I don't think I like Death by Lavender, but Naked has it's charms (though it does have a sweet coconutty smell). Revolver is a bit resiny and not overpoweringly masculine. It smells woody with a hint of something cool like peppermint and quite some coconut. But it isn't tropical, it just smells natural in the best sense of that word. I think this scent is traditionally thought of as male, but the lavender one is flowery but also "cooler", so take your pick. And it's more then subtle enough for whoever wants to wear it, regardless of their gender, if they want something different then the usual overpowering cucumber-sandalwood-fruity-motoroil-suspects.
HOWEVER: it makes the most horrible stains in clothing. I wore one of my favorite dresses, and then my favorite summer outfit and then my only light-colored t-shirt and there was gunk on all of them. I nearly didn't get it out of my favorite t-shirt, so that's not good. I use it when I wear things without tight sleeves, when I am sitting around the house in one of the gentleman's shirts that are so much more comfortable than the tight stuff supposedly made with the female body in mind. The deodorant is also quite gritty, so sometimes it feels more like you're scrubbing your pits than applying deodorant.
Final part of the review: massage bars & lipbalms. There is no contest: Hurraw! Balm has every other one beaten hands down. These ones have the same nearly scrub-texture as the deodorant. It does work once it's warmed up a bit, but there's no contest, both in taste, texture and options Hurraw is better. I've recently come to like their Moon Balm especially, it has a really subtle taste with chamomile and vanilla. The North Coast gift-package also had some massage bars. Or maybe they're body butter, they feel like a thicker version of the Lush ones I already have. I prefer the Lush ones, because the other ones are more of a cream than an oil after you've warmed them up. So far my sister and I share a love for Lush's Each Peach, and I also quite liked the valentine special from a year back (Dusk Till Dawn). The other ones I tried weren't a success, though my sister likes the one with the flowers (Therapy) a lot as well. I think the one with the beans on top (Wiccy Magic Muscles) smells way too heavy, but it is also a lifesaver when you have sore muscles or a persistent chest-cold. And then you really don't care about the eucalyptus anymore.
Oh, right, I forget to tell you: there's a reason why natural deodorants and care products might be a good idea. What you put on your skin, your body will absorb. I am not of the "If I can't eat it, I don't put it on my skin"-type, but I do try and be reasonable. You will have also noticed that I try and use deodorants in stick-form. I avoid the sprays. If they aren't worse for you, then they're worse for the environment. I always thought hair in armpits would get in the way, but it did not, not even in my most anti-grooming of periods and for some reason men are also huge fan of the creamy stick things and they are always worse then me at my least groomed. So let's all not inhale sprays together.
PS. I will retry Urtekram and Weleda some time soon. The first one reformulated some of their deodorants and added new scents as well as a creamy one (and cream like the Hauschka one usually works better for me than the crystal ones). And the second one, well, I did use that for a year or two without too many complaints so maybe I should reconsider.
January 22nd, 2015
This is just a quick post. But you should listen to both of these. I don't know what to think as a huge Pet Shop Boys fan and more of a "liker of Bruce Springsteen in theory because of his political activism and messages in his songs" than someone who actually listens to his music on a regular basis. But this was incredible to hear together, I love both of the songs, and everybody should get Electric and listen to it. It is their best album in years and years! And the differences with the Springsteen original are remarkable. It's exactly the same song, but also, as Python would have it, something completely different. I guess that's the point of covers, but I thought this was an especially good and inspiring cover.
January 15th, 2015
When I throw parties, it's usually Italian food, because pasta is the best! And so is pizza. And caprese salad. And minestrone. Did I mention you can serve caprese on a stick? It's very easy once you make the mozzarella I yammered on and on about in a previous post. It is one of the easiest but also tastiest vegan cheese recipes. I went to Rome once, in my pre-vegan days, but I did eat a lot of soya-gelato, because it's everywhere there, and it was the first time I tasted a non-dairy gelato that was good. Not "tasting like bean" good, but actually properly good. Rome is also the place where I saw the most inspiring or spiritual place I have ever seen in my life, so I guess I owe the city a little something. Or maybe the Italians are just my kind of people, both in looks and temperament (we have a lot in common). I may have had the cliché, let's generously call it "polyamorously inclined" Italian fling way back when, but I can't find too much fault with him, because he's one of the two people wo ever properly cooked for me with love and affection and without me having to lift a finger (or get out of bed and into clothes). In my defense, I cooked for at least ten men without expecting anything in return, so don't accuse me of being high maintenance, sometimes it's just nice to share the maintenance and romance in turns, ok! And the we haven't even started on Italian movies that involve food (and Tilda Swinton and men with unscrupulously depicted, beautiful bodies), just WOW!
Another recent international discovery is spanakopita. I got to know it because in my teens (think age 13/14) I had a shameful love of the sisterhood of the traveling pants, and in it spanakopita is mentioned (because one of the main characters is Greek-American). So I guess the book taught me that awkward underage teenage sex is only interesting when you are yourself an awkward pre-teen, but that pastry lasts forever. Just like the thing I took away from Veronica Mars is that I will gladly take Leo D'Amato off her hands if she is not interested. Greek-Italian? Where do I sign op! Ok, rambling. Spanakopita! This one is approved by Terry Hope Romero's Greek husband, has been since updated by her in an episode of Vegan Mashup, but the classic tofu one is still ridiculously delicious! I could not stop eating it even though they are quite heavy and about 80% olive oil. Which is precicely what makes them so good. I would definitely recommend this recipe to people unfamiliar with filo pastry, because it as a nice way to get acquainted. Before you go #GBBO crazy and make it yourself. I am not quite there yet but planning to.
Last but not least I will give you what happens when I see Nigella Lawson do something with whipped cream and decide to combine my meringue recipe with store bought rice whip. Freeze it and use it the next day, otherwise it will develop ice crystals. This should work with home-made coconut whipped cream but I can never get that to work. I gave you a meringue recipe way back when, make sure to really dry them out for this one though. I always add some lemon zest to the sauce, which is basically blend raspberries with vanilla and agave strained to remove all of the seeds. Really, nothing could be easier. I love it with chocolate chips and vanilla, but if you are a coffee fan it would certainly work with some instant espresso powder, some chocolate meringues or some completely different kind of sugary-cinnanon-cookie (and even more chocolate chips). The possibilities are endless, and all you need is a reliable (can be store-bought) vegan whipped cream and whatever you'd like to add to that. This recipe's an oldie but a goodie. You can make it as simple or as fancy as you want.
January 8th, 2015
Happy New Year! Just a quick one! I found out that if you use kombucha and frozen fruit, you can recreate and ice cream treat I used to get at a local ice cream store years back. I wasn't a fan of milkshakes back then either, but they did make a thing called a fruitshake, where they blended fizzy water with lots of sorbet. Especially strawberry was good. Last week I was craving ice-creamy dessert and had left-over frozen mango. And so I blended it with some mint and frozen strawberry topped off with kombucha. It tastes almost exactly the same (with a vague hint of kombucha-soapy-taste, it's actually really nice) as the fruitshake and with a little stretch of the imagination, you could call it healthy. But even if it wasn't, you should go and make this, because it tastes really, really good! You do need kombucha for this, but I already gave you all the info you could ever need with that.
You just add the frozen fruit until the glass is filled and then top off with the kombucha, you can make it in any size container, or even directly in your blender, and it won't taste very different. Isn't that super smart? I use the same method for my morning-smoothies. A tiny bit of vanilla, or mint is also quite delicious. I sometimes add some drops of stevia if it isn't sweet enough. I especially recommend the cinnamon, coconut and vanilla flavored ones, because they mask the sometimes a bit chalky-herby stevia taste. Really delicious and vanilla is very multi-functional. You could even use the cinnamon one for tomato sauce if you want to give it a hint of Greece, Morocco or Mexico!
January 1st, 2015
So this will be a post with lots of pictures. I have made quite some recipes from Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese by now, with varying degrees of success, and I can honestly say there's no other vegan cheese book that can hold a candle to it. The Cheesy Vegan has a really nice though somewhat runny silken-tofu-based cream cheese that was gorgeous on bagels with chives, but the cheese I used as pizza topping and the blue cheese were both close to revolting. I will keep trying, see if I can find recipes in the book that work, because there are a lot of them and I have to applaud the comprehensiveness of the book, but it just pales in compassion to Artisan Vegan Cheese. So does the absolute classic The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. That's one of the first vegan cookbooks I ever tried, it was one of the three available in the library, and it put me off veganism for 3 years, until I decided that animal welfare meant more to me then the taste of cheese.
One should probably not triple Miyoko Schinner's recipe for mozzarella, especially not if it is used to make mini-mozarella, resulting in so many tiny mozarella-balls half of one's fridge is filled with them. Also, making them in those quantities means that it is hard to sufficiently heat the mixture, which results in a more spreadable, less melty mozzarella than something that would be ideal for putting on sticks. If you heat it properly it will become scarily similar in texture to dairy mozzarella (and in taste as well). The badly-heated one does make for a spreadable sandwich filling that is absolutely delicious though, and it actually reminded me of fresh goat's cheese. So "Elk nadeel heb z'n voordeel" ("Every con has its pro") as our famous Dutch soccer coach Johan Cruijff would say (I hate soccer). The cat, as you can see, agreed.
I am still getting the hang on most of the cheese-recipes, culturing things is a tricky business, and I am much better at kefir and kombucha then I am at rejuvelac, yoghurt or cheese. The mozzarella and brie are a happy exception, but most of it is tricky and many is the time that I've found moldy cheese, or forgotten about perfectly fine cheese and then have it turn angry and sour on me. One of the things I did manage to tackle in the end though, were rolls of chèvre. I desperately wanted to put those on top of a pizza with Daiya mozzarella, because it is the closest one could even come to my favourite pizza from pre-vegan days. This one, dare I say it, is better, if only because the sauce and dough on my version is actually handmade, proper, garlicky delicious, and not something dropped by a machine on something that's more cardboard that pizza-crust. Both my own coconut-milk-based cheesy spread and the cashew cheese on top of that are better than the original.
I don't want to be too negative about other vegan "cheese" books, they might work for you, but both with the Cheezy Vegan and the absolute classic Uncheese Cookbook, I pretty soon decided that I'd rather not eat anything then the things they claim will substitute cheese, maybe with the exception of a tweaked version of tofu feta. And it's unnecessary to eat bad cheese as a vegan, because there's lots of creamy sauces and cashew fondue and baked marinated tofu to be had that is not cheese per se, but that is tangy and delicious in its own right. Maybe even better then the original (and not just because it's healthier, definitely because of the taste as well)! If you are on the fence about Artisan Vegan Cheese, buy the VegNews Cheese Issue and see how it goes. It went amazing for me! Then you can decide if it's worth buying. The difference between that book and the others is of course the fermentation, because however much nutritional yeast, miso, salt, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, it just won't be fermented like cheese, and Miyoko Schinner's recipes actually are fermented like cheese! And especially with the lighter cheeses, like mozzarella and brie, that culturing adds precisely the right tang. I am currently air-drying a parmesan, so I'll let you know how that went. I am very excited about it, because it would be a great addition to my almost instant Nigella Lawson herb-lemon-cashew-sauce for recipes to make in a pinch. I should share that with you some day, as well as the fondue, but then you might realize how deceptively easy it is and no longer buy it from my sister, and that would be a shame. She really deserves the customers.
December 24th, 2014
I have tried to make my balcony more insect-friendly, mainly thinking about bats and (solitary) bees needing a place to crash for the winter, but this did not go exactly as I intended. While the bee-flowers were a huge hit, the bee-hotel was not a succes because it is still uninhabited. The same seems to be true for the bat-mobile (actually it's more of a bat-cave, should have called it that instead). From as close a distance as I dare examine it only spiders seem to be living there.
This could also be because of the killer (formerly: killers) also living on the balcony. The cat(s) ate quite a lot of the mosquitos and flies. In one case, Betty ate an entire bee to leave only its wings in the dirt. Could have been a fly, but the wings looked like a bee's to me. Don't even ask me how, but she seemed content with her achievement. She always does, even if she is too stupid to catch the huge mosquitos in my room and instead tries to catch fruit flies with an open paw. The fruit flies always win.
December 16th, 2014
There's way too much people out there discussing their morning make-up routine (mine consists mostly of not finding lip balm and then leaving the house without it, after taming the already reduced unruly eyebrows with some clear goo that can't be good for you), discussing what the must-haves are for next season or whatever super hip photocopier they've bought now, usually in top-5-format. I promise you this will not be one of those posts. We're doing this so I can refer to this post when people ask me what to cook for me, but also because I wish I'd known what cookbooks would've worked for me before I went vegan. There would have been way less collapsed tasteless lemon cupcakes with runny frosting. Also, can you believe it's been more than four-and-a-half years of veganism? I did not, but recently people started asking so I guessed five and was not that far off. Still really liking it, not planning to change anything about it, and making a morning smoothie that has all of the fats (chia and flax) and vitamins (blend the orange-ones from the vegan society through it, those are amazing) is a life saver if you are a forgetter of vitamins! But on with the reviewing.
The Mothern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley
Probably the best cookbook I've ever had. It's comprehensive. It's slightly macrobiotic. It is mostly vegan, but he makes a fair point about when he chooses to use animal products. He made me not only like, but love fennel. Need I say more?
Vegan Pie In the Sky, Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Listed in order of preference. They taught me how to bake. I credit them with much of the knowledge that makes me cringe whenever I see someone butchering a brownie by over-mixing. They have a very good troubleshooting-sections and general guidelines. Their recipes have so far failed me twice, which isn't a bad score considering that I've baked with them almost exclusively for 6 years (before I actually went vegan, I did a lot of vegan baking), sometimes making it up as I go along. These will help you understand every other baking recipe that much better. We will get into the gluten-free some other time, though there is a few gluten-free options in there.
Vedge by Kate Jacoby and Richard Landau
Because I desperately hope to one day be sat down at a table with maybe some candles and preferably no flowers, and then be served a few dishes from this book. I'd like it to be a romantic thing, but it doesn't have to be. I really like the recipes, it's how I would cook if I were good enough to think of recipes like these by myself. The pictures were also a huge inspiration. The smashed potato is now a staple in this household.
Veganomicon by Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz
I was unsure if I should list this book, but I will, because it's a really good starting point. You could go quite far with just this book and nothing else. It has vegan desserts, general tips and guidelines, recipes for different occasions, from casserole to super-fast pasta, everything is there. I don't like it as much as Peter Berley's or Vedge, because it isn't always my kind of cooking, but it is straightforward and it has a lot of basic information. It would probably take some time for you to get bored cooking exclusively from this, not even sure if that would ever happen. Also, no nonsense with fake meats and cheeses, only some tofu and recipes for making seitan.
The last one was a toss up between Clean Food by Terry Walters and Everyday Raw Express by Matthew Kenney. But I have already raved about Clean Food and Clean Start and we will get back to those books in the future. I chose Raw Express not because I am a raw foodie, but because it is the perfect book to learn a bit about raw food. Learning about raw "cooking" techniques can really help you cook more diversely, with or without heat. Say what you will of the raw foodies (and there's plenty to say, both positive and negative), but they know their salads and healthy snacks and desserts. There's a raspberry parfait in there that is to die for. It is one of my favorite dessert recipes, and one of the easiest at that. And it takes 15 minutes to prepare. And it will woo whomever you're trying to woo, as long as you keep in mind that half a portion is enough to last you a week...
December 7th, 2014